• Elizabeth Reid

    I’m not saying you should be identified with it, but I’m not sure you can call atheism a cult. Calling something a ‘cult’ (as opposed to a philosophy, etc.) usually implies a certain degree of uniformity of belief/ritual in the group, veneration of a particular thing or person, and frequently an element of social coercion if not actual physical coercion. Since all you have to do to be an atheist is believe that there aren’t any gods, I don’t think it really qualifies. There are groups that have cultlike qualities that hold atheism as a tenet, and Objectivism and Marxism are two of those groups, but that’s kind of my point, those are two pretty different groups of people.

    I’ve had friends who were atheists try to start up/join atheist groups, and frequently these groups just die out out from lack of momentum, because in the end the non-existence of God is a pretty unsatisfying discussion subject week after week. “So, God… still not there?” “Nope, not as far as I can tell. You?” “Nuh-uh..” Cue awkward silence, sound of chairs being scraped across the floor, etc. Most groups that get called ‘cults’ are way more passionate than that.

  • Elizabeth Reid

    I just noticed the ‘+’ and realized it might mean something, so I Googled it. OK, that’s a specific group of people with more specific beliefs rather than a big heterogeneous mass, so maybe they’re a cult? A two-minute Googling is not enough to give me much of a feel for whether or not they have the social coercion and veneration elements; you’d have to convince me that they’re not just a bunch of people who share some beliefs. On the other hand I still can’t imagine that they rank with Marxism and Objectivism, which, say what you will, have had a certain amount of historical significance. I’m not sure Atheism+ is headed for a similar level of influence.

  • yacv

    >I’m not sure Atheism+ is headed for a similar level of influence.

    I don’t think that is the point.
    Atheism+ divides the world into a small righteous group of good people (“us”) and a large evil or at least bad group (“them”). Probably they’d acknowledge a third indifferent group, who knows.
    Plus they believe that in the fighting of the bad “them” practically any means is allowed. *

    That is not a believe system I’d care to belong to either, no matter their influence.

    *) Google some more and you’ll find lots of evidence for that.

  • Elizabeth Reid

    I’m probably not willing to put in the Google work, but if you want to post a link that supports the proposition that they are, as a group, OK with fighting theists (or whomever they’re fighting?) by any means necessary I’ll go read it. I seriously only heard of them when I noticed that +, and the little Googling I have already done has not been particularly edifying, but I didn’t stumble straightaway onto a declaration of war against everybody who’s not in their particular Reddit discussion group.

    But… even if they are, does that make them a ‘cult’ specifically? Are all bad groups cults?

  • http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

    Oh, Atheism Plus. If you don’t know about them, they’re so hard to begin to describing. It would be like trying to explain Scientology to someone who doesn’t know about that. You’re either kind of hooked into this kind of hard core crazy or you aren’t. Basically a bunch of hard core, not just atheist but militantly anti-theist, extreme PC lefties of the most stereotyped variety imaginable. Like, every bad stereotype of a PC lefty you can think of? That’s them.

    They’re a running joke in some circles, but just by mentioning them I’m probably giving them more attention than they deserve. They aren’t all bad people, some even appear to be psychologically damaged and in need of therapy. But… God, I don’t even know where to begin explaining them if you haven’t been following them for a while. I’ve been watching since the beginning of that little culty clusterfuck and I find it endlessly amusing and/or morbidly depressing, depending on my mood. Like a clown car being hit by a train, you almost can’t look away. But they’re on a mission to change the world, dammit!

    Their leader/founder calls them The Children of the Enlightenment. No I’m not kidding. Heh. :-P

  • jaymaster

    Jehovah’s Witnesses? (I’m still on the fence with that one, since I have many family members involved (including one set of grandparents)).

    Scientology?

    Linux?

  • http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

    Jehovah’s Witness: met some that are decent people, but yes, I’d call it a cult. One of the signs is the “shunning” thing. The difference between a mainstream religion and a cult? It’s actually pretty big but probably more than I can write in one comment. It mostly has to do with how much they insist on taking over your life and how they treat outsiders and especially those who question the dogma with tough questions or, worse, leave.